Hope Delhi rekindles magic of the 80s and 90s, says K.P. Bhaskar

K. P. Bhaskar has made a valuable contribution in this context to relive Delhi cricket’s glorious years. Of course, with the support of old fox Manoj Prabhakar, who was brought in to ensure there was no `bullying’ in the dressing room.

The Delhi coach was gracious in acknowledging Gautam Gambhir’s crucial knocks.   -  AKHILESH KUMAR

The role of a coach changes with the demands of a team. From technical observations and suggestions to astute man management, a coach plays a multifaceted part in the grooming of a team.

K. P. Bhaskar has made a valuable contribution in this context to relive Delhi cricket’s glorious years. Of course, with the support of old fox Manoj Prabhakar, who was brought in to ensure there was no `bullying’ in the dressing room.

Having played together at Delhi and Sonnet Club, the duo of Bhaskar and Prabhakar struck a rapport that worked well for the team. “The most important thing was the pleasant atmosphere in the dressing room. Also, we saw to it that no individual felt insecure,” remarked Prabhakar.

For Bhaskar, it was a season of challenges after having experienced some harrowing time in his first stint. He had accepted the job with an eye on raising a team for the future. And he can claim to have achieved his target as Delhi finished runner-up in Ranji Trophy and claimed the Mushtaq Ali title, apart from winning the under-23 and women’s T20 championships.

READ: Syed Mushtaq Ali T20: Delhi beats Team Rajasthan to clinch title

“My focus was to groom players who can serve the team long. Delhi has some amazing talent and my job was made easier by boys who performed consistently. It is always tough to tell a player that he is being dropped but I always tried to take them into confidence. It worked,” said Bhaskar, who gave a break to many youngsters this season.

Bhaskar was largely instrumental in giving a break to wicketkeeper-batsman Anuj Rawat, left-arm fast bowler Kulwant Khejroliya, gifted stroke-player Himmat Singh, all-rounder Lalit Yadav and opener Kunal Chandela. “I must credit the selectors for keeping faith in my judgment. It was teamwork no doubt but hats off to the players who grabbed the initiative,” said Bhaskar. 

Bringing back Unmukt Chand for the T20 knockout stage and backing Dhruv Shorey right through the season was a plus point. “With the strengthening of the bench, Delhi is on the road to recover its glory. I hope the magic of the 1980s and early 1990s will be rekindled by this hard-working bunch.”

The clinching factor, said Bhaskar, was “making Ishant (Sharma) the captain with the belief that Delhi can do well only by taking 20 wickets. The idea was to look at things from a bowler’s perspective and this paid off. Ishant was brilliant in captaincy and his striking spells too paved the way for Delhi’s qualification,” Bhaskar added.

The Delhi coach was gracious in acknowledging Gautam Gambhir’s crucial knocks. “As the senior most member of the team, Gautam helped with two sterling knocks in the quarterfinal and semifinal,” said Bhaskar.

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